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    All About Hawai'i Volcanoes and Earthquakes
    The Big Island of Hawai'i is composed of five volcanoes... Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualālai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea.

    Hualālai and Mauna Loa are expected to erupt again. Mauna Kea can still be active though there are no current indications. The current active volcano is Kilauea which has been spewing forth lava pretty much nonstop since it began - and is among the worlds most active volcanoes.

    Currently lava comes out at the Pu'u 'O'o vent inside the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Depending on conditions the lava is quite often accessible and offers visitors an experience of a lifetime.

    Lava flowing from Pu'u 'O'o normally flows through lava tubes towards the ocean 6 miles away. About two miles before the ocean the lava encounters a 1,200 foot cliff which is flows over, and then two to three miles of coastal flats until it pours into the ocean. Often the lava is visible on the Pali (cliff), on the coastal flats, and at the ocean entry.

    In the huge Kilauea Summit caldera itself site Halema'uma'u Crater. On March 19, 2008, a vent opened in the crater causing a portion of Crater Rim Drive to be closed. The vent is still open but lava continues to remain below the surface of the vent.

    We have much to say about the volcano and the lava - this page lays out the various sections that you can visit.

    Be sure to read the section on Cautions and Warnings as it contains very important information about volcano safety.

    Cautions & Warnings
    Current Activity
    Earthquake Info
    Finding Hot Lava
    Cooking In Lava
    Fun With Lava
    Types Of Lava
    Lava Photo Gallery
    Pu'u 'O'o History


    Current Volcanic Activity

    The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory located in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park provides a daily update of the eruption activity at Pu'u 'O'o and down on the coastal flats. This is a good place to check to see what is currently going on.

    We extract the daily report from USGS and have it for you below along with some of the most recent USGS pictures of the flow. Please visit the USGS website for more details and photographs.

    Kīlauea - Volcano Updates

    Kīlauea - Volcano Updates

    Alert Level: WATCH, Color Code: ORANGE 2021-10-20 20:11:27

    HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 10:11 AM HST (Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 20:11 UTC)


    KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
    19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
    Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
    Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

    Activity Summary:  Kīlauea volcano is erupting. As of this morning, October 20, 2021, lava continues to erupt from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. All lava activity is confined within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Seismicity and volcanic gas emission rates remain elevated.

    Summit Observations: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain high, with a preliminary emission rate for October 17, 2021, of approximately 2,700 tonnes per day. No significant changes seen in summit tilt or GPS observations; summit tilt was flat over the past 24 hours. Earthquake activity remains below background and volcanic tremor remains elevated since the beginning of the eruption.

    Halemaʻumaʻu Lava Lake Observations: Lava continues to erupt from a single vent in the western wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The western end of the lake showed a maximum elevation of approximately 790 meters (2592 ft) above sea level when measured by field crews on October 19, which is a 1 meter (3 ft) increase relative to the October 17, 2021, measurement and a total increase of about 46 meters (151 ft) since lava emerged on September 29. The total erupted volume since the beginning of the eruption was estimated to be about 19.9 million cubic meters (5.3 billion gallons) on October 15. The western vent had consistent fountain heights up to 9 m (30 ft) with occasional bursts up to 14 m (46 ft) observed by field crews on October 19. The lava lake is not level across its surface due to the location of the vent in the western end. The western lake quadrant is approximately 2 meters (6.6 feet) higher than the active southern lobe, 3 meters (9.8 feet) higher than the active northern lobe and there is about 7 meters (23 feet) elevation difference between the active west and stagnant east part of the lake. 

    East Rift Zone Observations: No unusual activity has been noted in the Kīlauea East Rift Zone. Ground deformation motion suggests that the upper East Rift Zone—between the summit and Puʻuʻōʻo—has been steadily refilling with magma over the past year. SO2 and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from Puʻuʻōʻō were below instrumental detection levels when last measured on January 7, 2021.

    Hazard Analysis: This new eruption at Kīlauea’s summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Therefore, high levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects down-wind. Large amounts of volcanic gas—primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)—are continuously released during eruptions of Kīlauea Volcano. As SO2 is released from the summit, it reacts in the atmosphere to create the visible haze known as vog (volcanic smog) that has been observed downwind of Kīlauea. Vog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to residents and visitors, damages agricultural crops and other plants, and affects livestock. For more information on gas hazards at the summit of Kīlauea, please see: https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20173017. Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/. 

    Additional hazards include Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from the lava fountains that will fall downwind of the fissure vents and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the vent (s). Strong winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents should minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation. 

    Other significant hazards also remain around Kīlauea caldera from Halemaʻumaʻu crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. This underscores the extremely hazardous nature of Kīlauea caldera rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008. 

    For discussion of Kīlauea hazards, please see: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards 

    Please see the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park website for visitor information: https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm. Visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park should note that under southerly (non-trade) wind conditions, there is potential for a dusting of powdery to gritty ash composed of volcanic glass and rock fragments. These ashfalls represent a minor hazard, but visitors should be aware that dustings of ash at areas around the Kīlauea summit are possible. 

    The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea Volcano.

    HVO will continue to issue daily Kīlauea Volcano updates until further notice. Additional messages will be issued as needed.


    More Information:
    Kīlauea activity summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862
    Kīlauea webcam images: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/webcams
    Kīlauea photos/video: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/photo-video-chronology
    Kīlauea lava-flow maps: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/maps
    Kīlauea FAQs: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/faqs

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    Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/

    Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/hazards

    Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/earthquakes

    Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels

    CONTACT INFORMATION:

    askHVO@usgs.gov

    The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi.

     



    Volcano Books and Videos

    coverBook: Chasing Lava: A Geologist's Adventures at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
    coverBook: Hawai'i's Volcanos: Legends and Facts
    coverBook: Hawai'i Volcano Watch: A Pictorial History, 1779-1991
    coverBook: Mauna Loa: World's Largest Active Volcano
    coverBook: Hawai'i's Kilauea Volcano: The Flow to the Sea
    coverVideo: Volcano - Fountains of Fire
    coverVideo: Lava Flows and Lava Tubes
    coverVideo: 2003 Eruption Update: A Firsthand Account of the Current Eruption of Kilauea Volcano
    coverVideo: 2004 Eruption Update: A Firsthand Account of the Current Eruption of Kilauea Volcano

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    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun